My First Men's Retreat

Last week, I went on my first-ever Men's Retreat, which was held at Pilgrim Pines Camp & Conference Center in Swanzey, NH. When it comes to Jesus' parable of the seeds, I relate to the seed that falls among thorns - because of the grind of daily life - so I was thankful for the privilege to get away. Pilgrim Pines is a beautiful place; in the mornings it was easy to spend alone time with God while overlooking picturesque and serene Swanzey Lake.

Metro's own Pastor Kevin Swanson spoke at the retreat and he shared about what it means to be a neighbor to the people God has placed in our lives. We studied and reflected upon the Parable of the Good Samaritan. We also discussed the challenges of being neighbors in our country during this incredibly divided time.

We went hiking during the retreat and hiked the 3,166-foot-high Mount Monadnock and I got my butt kicked! I'll never hear the end of it since I was the youngest of the ten Metro guys who did the hike...but I was the slowest. Dennis Kwon, Temmy Park, and Pastor Kevin Swanson were the fast crew that raced to the top - they're like machines! The views from the top of the mountain were beautiful. I think there's something special about being outdoors; Jesus also spent intentional time in the wilderness. 

The brothers even taught me how to play the board game, Settlers of Catan. What a complex game, but it was fun!

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I was very humbled and thankful to be around men from whom I can learn so much. Everybody has their own unique testimony, family background, and wisdom from life experiences.

Special shout-outs to Pastor Kevin for delivering God's Word and Paul Ra for driving us in the church van! He drove every mile.

Until next year, Pilgrim Pines!

Submitted by Rob Shin

Bowling Over: Singles Bowling League

Metro’s first ever bowling league has come and gone!

For the past few weeks this September, the Metro singles hit the lanes to hone in on their bowling skills while building relationships with fellow singles. It was a blast being with both new and familiar faces for the few weeks of this first season and I want to thank the 60+ singles that signed up for this league and bowled their hearts out. Congratulations to Will’s Team for taking first place, and a special shout-out to those who served as captains of their teams - thank you for serving in this capacity as facilitators, cheerleaders, and welcoming faces. I can’t thank you enough.

The motive behind the bowling league was simply to bring people together consistently in order to build lasting relationships. The captains picked to lead the teams were mostly UG leaders or leaders at our church, while their respective teams served as mini UGs for the four weeks that the league went on. The core team's hope was that this would cause people who signed up for the league to join an Underground Group for the long term, which we believe came to fruition. Community building has always been something that was important to our team, and we are extremely blessed by how our community is responding! 

Whether it’s our lunches after service, going apple picking, or attending a game night, we’re super encouraged to see that there is a hunger in our people to do life with brothers and sisters in Christ. Even though the year is closing out, there is much to look forward to in the coming months (Hiking on Oct. 21, Winter Retreat from Dec. 8-10)! Come through, fam! We hope to see you at the next event ☺

Submitted by Doug Cho

Pastor's Q&A Panel - October, 2017 (video)

Facebook was down yesterday, but that didn't stop us from broadcasting our live Q&A panel with our Metro Pastors, thanks to YouTube!

If you missed yesterday's broadcast, you can watch the full video here...

As Peter mentions during the broadcast - these Q&A panels are not for us, but for you - and so we invite you to submit your question/s or suggest a topic for our upcoming shows by clicking on the button/link below...

Tune in next month!

Submitted by Timm Chartier
Director of Media & Communications.

Ready For Launch: Metro Women's Ministry

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"A new command I give you; love one another.  As I have loved you, so you must love one another." - John 13:34

Metro, we believe God is at work. Earlier this year, He opened an invitation for several women to come together and pray for the rebuilding of the women’s ministry. Despite our limitedness (we are career women, moms, wives and already actively involved members of Metro), we believed that God was at the helm of this much-needed ministry, and in fact, this was His ministry! It had to be His doing, not ours. It was at our pre-launch event back in July - our single women’s focus group - when it all became very tangible for us. Our single women showed up! We saw and heard their excitement, support and enthusiasm as they shared their hopes, needs and challenges as single women at Metro. Honestly, that was what we needed to see. That was evidence of what God was preparing in the hearts of women for the women of Metro and beyond.

The single women focus group - July, 2017

As we focus on building some firm foundations, our vision is to provide a way for women to connect and minister to one another through fun events, small groups, prayer and service—all through the spirit of His love.  

We are also excited to announce some new sub-ministries! Jee Cappola and Christine Cook will be leading Metro’s first ever women’s support group. Bernice Garcia will be continuing the much-needed MetroLOVES, a group for our single moms. And we are thankful for Metro’s first ever Caring Arms Ministry, led by Deborah Moore, which will serve those in need related to childbirth, illness, hospitalization and loss.  

If you would like to get involved with any of these groups, you can email us at womensministry@emetro.org. Better yet, we hope you will join us at the launch meeting this Sunday, October 15 at 1:30pm in the Media Room where you can meet the core team, hear the vision and upcoming plans of the ministry and learn how you can get involved.  

We are also preparing our kick-off event on the evening of Saturday, October 28 - a “Your Story” Night, where we will gather to worship God through the sharing of our testimonies via song, written words and more.

We hope to see many of you there!

Got Q's? Get A's: FB Live This Wednesday!

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We hope you enjoyed Pastor Peter's first sermon since returning from his 3-month sabbatical.

Please join us on Facebook Live this coming Wednesday, October 11 @ 12:30pm as Pastor Peter returns to our all-star Q&A panel to share a little from his recent time away, as well as tackle some of the tough questions, surrounding current events and much more...

Got a question for Peter regarding his sabbatical? Have recent events got you asking questions about your faith, or the church? Did Peter's sermon present any noodle scratchers? We want to know!

To submit a question, please click on the button below (or click this link)...

A Home Run: Family Baseball Outing

At the close of August, families and members of Metro's Men's Ministry (M3) and Metro's Softball Team were given the opportunity to enjoy a beautiful Sunday afternoon of baseball, food, and fellowship at Palisades Credit Union Park - home to the Rockland Boulders, a baseball team from the Canadian American Association of Professional Baseball (Can-Am League). 

Those who attended enjoyed the Boulders’ exciting 8-2 win over the Quebec Capitales with great seats behind home plate, while snacking on hot dogs, chips, and drinks. Kids were not left out of the fun either - a cute train lapped around the stadium, a busy mini-golf course and playground occupied the area adjacent to right-field, and the mascot, Boulder Bird, walked around pumping up the crowd. 

It was an amazing time for all ages, with the proceeds from the event going towards the medical expenses of a family at Metro. Many thanks to James Lee, of the Metro Leadership Team, for setting this event up.  

We hope more people can join us for games next season, but if you're interested in attending events like these in the future, be sure to be on the lookout for more announcements from M3!

Submitted by Philip Chen

Meeting God In Milwaukee

This past Sunday, Pastor Clay shared a story from our youth's recent missions trip to Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Here is another story from this trip, from one of the leaders of our high school ministry... 
 

Last month, I had the privilege of going on a missions trip with a group of Metro youth students to Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Our church sent out an e-mail regarding the need for female chaperones for the missions trip, but I initially disregarded this because I felt unqualified to chaperone youth. As someone who had never participated in a missions trip, I didn’t see how I could be a leader to teenage boys and girls. Also, as a pre-kindergarten teacher, just the thought of spending time with older youth made me nervous. Days passed and people around me began suggesting and encouraging me to join the missions team. The more the idea crossed my mind, the more I felt God challenging me to go. Plus, as a teacher on summer break, the timing aligned perfectly. However, my thoughts and feelings of not being qualified enough did not leave my mind. I didn't know any of the youth kids, I don't know the Bible well enough... I didn't know what to expect. Despite all these worries, I eventually decided to trust Him and His plans and just go. The more I set my mind on this thought, the more excited I became to see what He was about to reveal to me during this missions trip.

During the week I was in Milwaukee, I was so blessed and encouraged. I learned about the city and the people of the city who wanted to change the lives in Milwaukee. The trust and hope in God were so evident and undeniable despite the challenges the people faced. The youth students also encouraged me and I saw how God was working in their lives through the children in the community, the messages, and serving to transform the neighborhoods of Milwaukee. Not only did I fall in love with them and build relationships with the team, but I also learned a lot about myself. I realized how much I need God in my self-doubt, especially when I believe God can’t use me because of my weakness. But throughout that week, I felt God continuously saying, “Trust me,” and move me outside of my comfort zone.

A message from one of the nights was that your limitations don’t matter, but rather trust in God and He will always be with you because you can’t do anything on your own. As my heart for the youth was growing, that message gave me strength to obey and get over my self-doubt of joining the high school ministry as one of the leaders. After coming back from the mission’s trip and through more prayers, I decided to fully commit in being part of the team. I have full trust that this was God’s plan and that He will be along with me as I try to be an older sister figure to the youth at Metro.

Submitted by Yuna Kim

Falling For Each Other: Fall Marriage Retreat

This past weekend, 5 couples from Metro escaped to the beautiful Poconos to make an investment in their marriages. 
 

It was great to push the pause button on the normal distractions of life to focus on this relationship that God designed and called "good". Hopefully, the truth from God's Word and the tools we learned from the weekend will position us well to fully appreciate all that God has given us in our marriages.

If you have never attended a Metro Marriage Retreat, save the date - April 20-22, 2018!

For more information regarding our Marriage Retreats, please feel free to reach out atkevin.swanson@emetro.org.

Blessings,
Pastor Kevin

Know Your Enemy

Every week the Metro Staff reconnects with each other for a couple of hours. Yesterday, we welcomed Mi-Young Chung who will soon be joining us as our new Operations Manager.

We also followed some sage military advice, which is to "know your enemy", so we looked at a few passages from the Bible that reveal who our enemy is and how we should respond to him The photo below chronicles the truth we mined out of the scripture...

As you can see, the staff came up with a rather extensive and chilling rap sheet on Satan. In contrast, we were reminded of the overpowering nature of our God and the final demise of our enemy. Finally, we looked at where we fit into this cosmic struggle and how we can best appropriate all the devil-defeating resources God has made available to us.

We don't always get this studious and theological at our meetings, but this week's staff meeting seemed like the right day for this subject.

If you'd like a text copy of this breakdown, please email me at kevin.swanson@emetro.org.

Blessings,
Pastor Kevin

Flash-Back-To-School Block Party

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Back in August, Metro Community Church celebrated the end of summer with Mt. Calvary Baptist Church, hosting a free outdoor party to kick off the school year with a little fun and excitement for our Englewood kids and families. Englewood Hospital, the Department of Health, Children's Services and Veterans Affairs also participated in the event.

Mt. Calvary provided food for the body and soul - there were hot dogs, hamburgers, chicken, fish, coleslaw and much more. They also handed out book bags for students from Kindergarten to 7th grade, filled with nutritious snacks and school supplies. There was even a DJ on-site that brought excellent music and created a great block party atmosphere.

Pastor Sanetta coordinated for Metro - setting up tables with volunteers that provided face painting, jewelry-making, and hand painting. Over 100 kids participated in the free activities!

Overall, it was an amazing Back-To-School event that was well-attended and enjoyed by all.

We hope more participants will join Metro and Mt. Calvary at next year's Block Party. Until then, be safe and be courteous.

Submitted by Lotte Johnson
Photo Credit: KyungJun Han

Single Status

Hello-hello! Things have been busy within the Singles community at Metro, and we’ve been so blessed with the amount of eagerness of our Metro family to want to gather together and fellowship!

We had our very first Singles luncheon at the beginning of August. The reason we decided to start having these luncheons was because many from our singles community were going off in separate groups after church to eat, often times running into each other at the same restaurant, while others were left behind because they just didn’t get the memo. Why not have a meal together so we can all catch up? Maybe it was the fact that we were serving Halal Guys (a couple of married folk even tried to sneak in!), but we had an overwhelming response and a wonderful time just getting to know people and eating a meal together. 

Last week, we had a game night at the Metro Office. I love competitive games, but was so surprised to see our people take Scattergories and Jenga so seriously! Personally, I’m blown away by our beautiful community and all the different walks of life that come out to the Singles events. We are so different, and yet, we are all still able to enjoy being together and learn from one another.

Currently, we're taking sign-ups for our mini-bowling league (it’s only four weeks long) in September and I highly recommend you join if you’re new to Metro and you want to be plugged in! As I’ve said to many, it’s just a bunch of not-so-great bowlers competing against one another, but the fun really just comes from being together. Granted, there will be weekly updated stats posted online and some great trophies being given out at the end! More importantly, it’ll give you an opportunity to meet many of our Underground Group leaders at our church, as well as many others.

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Personally, I’ve had the pleasure of getting to know you and many new faces this summer and hope to have more events in the future. So, if you're single, we hope to see you there!

Submitted by Doug Cho
Singles / Arts Pastor

Photos by: KyungJun Han

ICYMI: A "Tough" Broadcast

Last Wednesday, we broadcasted our fourth Facebook Live discussion panel, where some of our pastors came together and attempted to answer some of your tough questions.

While we did experience some technical difficulty - so sorry to everyone who tuned in at 12:30pm - we didn't let that stop us, and so we unplugged our mics, changed locations, and managed to continue answering questions in Pastor Kevin's office.

If you missed the broadcast, here is the edited video...

As Pastor Kevin says at the end of the video, technical issues or not - we are going to continue producing these live broadcasts for you and answering your questions! However, just for your own reassurance, we believe that we've identified what the connection issue was and - fingers crossed - we won't experience that again for further broadcasts.

We hope you enjoy/ed the show, but also we hope that you will send us your questions and desired subjects to discuss in the future by filling out the simple form below!

Submitted by Timm Chartier
Director of Media & Communications

Interested in serving in media production at Metro? Shoot us an email at media@emetro.org.

Another look at last weekend...

Dear Metro Family,

This is a follow-up on last Sunday’s service. I want to thank everyone who invested so much in our Family Service as well as each of you who generously shared your affirmations of the morning. I believe that God was glorified as we worshiped together across generations!

Given the fact that our children were present in the service, I did not feel that it was appropriate to give the unfolding events in Charlottesville VA the attention that they justly deserve. At the same time, it is totally unacceptable to let these events become just another unfortunate chapter in our country’s sad racial story.

What we witnessed in Charlottesville this past weekend is another indication of an untreated malignancy that exists in our country. The disease has several names, most being unutterable by the majority of my fellow white Americans. But let’s call it what it is; white supremacy, white nationalism, racism, bigotry, hatred, venomous evil, sin. Charlottesville revealed that the disease is not in remission. It runs in our veins and resides in the marrow of our bones. The purveyors of white supremacy have capitalized on our current political climate and have become emboldened to once again bring their heretical ideology into the light of day. Charlottesville is nothing new, it is just a recent manifestation of an untreated, chronic and fatal condition that has existed in our country since before it became a country. White supremacy is not a side-bar or bolt-on to our country, it is one of the foundation stones on which our country was built and today it pervades our society.

The double-speak that we witnessed in the past few days from the current administration does absolutely nothing to combat the disease. On the contrary, the first message held all the code-words necessary to allow the hate-mongers to continue on their current course. The second message was easily written off as acquiescing to pressure from the liberal press, just background noise to the white supremacists.

Metro - racism must not be relegated to our country’s history. It has never been appropriately addressed and it continues to rear it’s ugly head in large and small ways.  I have little hope that the current administration will in any way address root issues and move us in a healthy and redemptive direction.

However, the past 2000 years of Christian history have repeatedly revealed that when the church, following its Head, humbles itself, owns its stuff, acknowledges truth and finds its voice, it becomes a powerful change agent in society. God knows we are desperate for that today!

Pastor Kevin

Photos above are from Lisa Ra and Christy Vinson. Christy organized a peace gathering for Closter on Sunday night and a few of our Metro family were able to be part of the 120 people who came out to stand against evil and racism and pray for our country.  

Celebrating Pastor Shirley

Last Sunday, a group of Pastor Shirley's close friends, staff, and ministry team members gathered together to celebrate her transition from Pastor of MetroKids Ministry to Pastor of Special Needs Ministry. What stood out to me the most in that celebration was how much we collectively wanted to honor this woman - who truly knows how to welcome and love the little ones as Christ welcomed and loved them.

In her 13 years at MetroKids, Pastor Shirley planted some serious seeds of Christ’s love in our children - starting with the very first MetroKids child, Christina Ahn, who is now herself a MetroKids Assistant Leader! But the fact is, Pastor Shirley has greatly influenced the parents and teachers, too.

If you know Pastor Shirley, you know she has a special gift to make each person feel loved and welcomed as a fellow brother or sister in the Lord. It’s in that signature smile of hers, in her insistent hugs, in her genuine ability to listen!

She may be a small gal, but she packs a punch in the way she delivers her passion for people - especially God’s people. And for that, we are very blessed.

We are excited for what God has in store for Metro and for Pastor Shirley as she follows His lead. Please continue to pray with us on behalf of this amazing sister and her calling at Metro.

Submitted by Lisa Ra

A Generous Offer: Metro Family Portraits

Dear Metro Community,

Olya and I have been at Metro for many years and nothing means more to us in being part of a community than to serve. We have served in different ministries, but what gives us the most joy is to put our God given skills to work for His glory. 

We, as photographers, have always sought to give voice to the arts in ministry, and to encourage others to pursue their passion. We also believe in the work Metro Community Church is doing, which is why we want to support Metro financially by doing what we do best.

For the very first time, we would like to donate our Family Portrait Sessions from "Tony & Olya Photography" to Metro Community Church, where 100% of the proceeds will be donated to the church. 

We hope this will be a great opportunity for us to serve the families of Metro who are interested in having a family portrait session, to help build community (we love meeting new people!), while supporting the church that we love!

If you attend Metro Community Church and would like to have your family's portrait taken, we are offering a 45-minute session for $225 and a 90-minute session for $425...

To book a session or for more information, please contact us directly at contact@iwannamarry.com.

- Tony & Olya Yang

T3 Took A Hike!

Metro's newest ministry, T3 (which stands for Top Tier Transformers) sponsored a Family Fellowship Hike on a recent Saturday morning in Palisades Interstate Park. We enjoyed being out in the woods for a while as we got to know each other better. For the most part, the more seasoned among us were able to keep up with the younger generation!

Kevin Swanson
Executive Pastor

Bringing Our Single Women Into Focus

The Women's Ministry had its second pre-launch event this past Sunday in anticipation of the official launch of the ministry this September.

Our core team wanted to hear from the single women of Metro - to hear what was on their hearts, including their challenges and needs as single women and what they would like to see happen through the Women’s Ministry.

We were thrilled for the turnout; in total, nearly 30 women came out to the focus group! From the start of the meeting, we felt their excitement and eagerness for this new ministry. This was very encouraging!

It was also a diverse group of single women - women from various life-stages of singlehood, background and age. Even with this diversity, the common message was clear: a desire for community, fellowship, support, accountability - in short, a place of belonging where we are not separated by our age and life circumstances.

We are so thankful to all the women that came out to share what was on their hearts and minds. It was immensely helpful to listen and take note of the needs, desires, and hopes of our singles and we are excited for what God has planned for the women of Metro as this ministry continues to unfold. Your prayers are appreciated! Thank you!

Submitted by Jee Cappola
Co-Leader, Women's Ministry